Amazon sued over eclipse glasses after couple cites blind spots

  • Josh Hafner
  • USA TODAY
3:17 p.m Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 Atlanta News

A South Carolina couple says faulty eclipse glasses purchased through Amazon left them with dark spots and distorted vision following last month's eclipse. 

A proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week now accuses the retail giant of negligence for marketing "inherently defective and extremely dangerous" glasses. 

A three-pack of eclipse glasses arrived at the Charleston home of Corey Thomas Payne last month, according to federal court papers reported by GeekWire. He gave a pair to Kayla Harris, his fiancee, and the couple used them to view the Aug. 21 eclipse. 

Afterward, the lawsuit claims, the couple's headaches and eye watering gave way to blurriness, changes in color and "a central blind spot." (Just seconds of unprotected viewing of the sun can result in irreversible damage.)

Amazon acknowledged that it sold unverified eclipse glasses last month, emailing recalls and refund offers to customers in mid-August. But Payne and Harris never received such an email, according to the lawsuit. 

Such emails were "too little, too late," the suit says, and never reached anyone who received the glasses secondhand.

Steven Teppler, the couple's lawyer, told the New York Post that Amazon's emails didn't specify whether Amazon sold the affected glasses directly or did so for a third-party vendor.

"It might be both,” Tepper said. “We think there is at least some liability and in some cases absolute liability for Amazon.”

Amazon was a top retailer for eclipse glasses ahead of the event, purchasing 10 million alone from American Paper Optics, which made verified lenses for the event. 

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